Monday, February 27, 2023

First Impressions - 2023 Topps Series 1

I'm fairly certain my local Wal-Mart isn't carrying baseball cards anymore. It seems like they haven't had any of the latest releases in almost a year. I had an opportunity to check the card section at Target, and wouldn't you know it, success! Target may end up being my local source for cards. For now, I'm happy to open a hanger box of 2023 Topps and give my initial review:
#173 San Francisco Giants (TC)
The first official card of 2023 is a team card. I can almost convince myself the guy on the left has three arms and three legs...
#178 NL Home Run Leaders (LL)
#303 Wild West (CC, CL)
What in the Multiverse of Madness? Is it me or is this guy hugging himself?

#211 NL ERA Leaders (LL)
#191 Caleb Smith
#49 Mitch Hanger
#276 David McKinnon (RC)
#125 Marcell Ozuna
#233 Taylor Rogers
#41 Brian Serven (RC)
#17 Shohei Ohtani
OK, let's talk about the design. I like the Jumbotron head shot, the team colored borders and the home plate positional element. What I don't like: the small player name and even smaller team name, plus the sharp angles not going the full width of the card area. Minor stuff, really. All in all a nice looking set.
#278 Aaron Nola
#90 Korey Lee (RC)
#290 Max Fried
#179 Carlos Rondon
#286 Ezequiel Duran (RC)
#47 Ryan Mountcastle
#98 Mike Yastrzemski
Maybe it's me and it's just this particular pack, but it seems the photos themselves aren't as interesting as in past years. Yaz's grandson is one of the better photos in this pack, but even it suffers from a weird cropping that makes him knee himself in the head.

#264 Steele Walker (RC)
#197 Andrew Benintendi
#55 Cristian Javier
#266 Tommy Pham 
My first official Red Sox card of 2023, and it's a mid-season pickup who isn't on the team anymore! It's a good opportunity to talk about the backs. Yay for readable card numbers! Not horrible design-wise, but nothing outstanding either. I need my glasses to read anything else on the back, but at least we get full career stats!
#325 German Marquez
#327 Patrick Sandoval
#298 Shane Bieber
#153 Kevin Gausman
#107 Sandy Alcantara
#184 Beau Brieske
#312 Pavin Smith (Gold parallel)
Now we get to the bonus portion of our pack. Kicking things off is this gold parallel of Pavin Smith, who I'm almost positive I saw play while he was with the University of Virginia (Go Cavaliers!) The Diamondbacks colors compliment the gold border really well.
#SMLBC-2 Mike Trout (Stars of MLB Chrome insert)

So yeah, Topps is doing this generic insert set again, in regular and Chrome versions. Yawn..
#280 Julio Urias (Rainbow Foil parallel)

The Rainbow Foils look nice. The stars in the lower corners really stand out with these parallels.
#SMLB-14 Bryce Harper (Stars of MLB insert)
#SMLB-7 Jose Ramirez (Stars of MLB insert)
#SMLB-27 Freddie Freeman (Stars of MLB insert)
#SMLB-24 Pete Alonso (Stars of MLB insert)
#T88-78 Robin Yount (1988 Topps Baseball 35th Anniversary insert)
Topps shows it can in fact move on from the 1987 design with this years 1988 tribute. I will say I'm torn with showing players who were actually in the 1988 set. I think I'd appreciate more if Topps only did this for the Hall of Famers who appeared in the set (and not to Hall of Famers who weren't).
#22GH-20 Mike Yastrzemski (2022 Greatest Hits insert)
It's a Mike Yastrzemski hot pack! I like the concept of this insert set, but the design is so-so. And what's with the demonic shadow hovering around the red area? 
#313 Cal Mitchell (RC)
#74 Tarik Skubal
#171 Mychal Givens
#132 Gavin Sheets
#204 Manuel Margot
#210 Not Bad, Rook! (CL)
After all these years later, and Miggy still has that childlike smile he had when he was a young Marlin. His love for the game is going to one of the things I'll miss most about him once he retires after this season.
#54 Marcus Stroman
#5 Albert Pujols
Speaking of retirement, kudos to Topps for giving an all-time great a proper sunset card. (They even gave him card #5!)
#320 Cade Cavalli (RC)
#151 Tyler Wells
#261 Martin Perez
#183 Seiya Suzuki
#269 Steven Matz
#182 Nick Pratto (RC)
#68 William Contreras
#66 Brandon Crawford
#154 Jonathan Aranda (RC)
#60 Josh Rojas
#279 Yu Darvis
Am I the only one who is over the City Connect Uniforms? They were fun little money grabs at first, but I'm getting tired of seeing so many alternate uniforms on baseball cards. The Negro League throwbacks never got this much exposure.
#259 Mark Appel (RC)
#326 Walk-Off Waterfall (CC, CL)
#190 Bro Time (CL)
#226 Michael Harris II (ASR, RC)
#194 Josh Staumont
#220 Chicago Cubs (TC)
#292 Texas Rangers (TC)
#113 Star Power (CC, CL)
#174 Celebration In Seattle (CC, CL)
#70 Darin Ruf
#168 Atlanta Braves (TC)
So there you have it. This is likely the last "pure" Topps base set before we start seeing the Fanatics trademark, right?

Friday, February 24, 2023

Trapped In Time: Remnants Of The 31st Trade

After last month's massive 10 card showcase, I'm back to showing off just one single card.

When I started this project, I started with a single pack of 2018 Topps. The next year I added a pack of 2019 Topps, and have added a pack of each year's base set every year since. (In fact, the 2023 pack will be added on the next Time travel update!) Anyway, today's lonely unwanted card came from the addition of that 2019 Topps pack:
Trade #31 (TCDB member Kirbythedodger)
Traded 02/16/19: 2019 Topps #334 Jake Lamb, 2019 Topps - Rainbow Foil #140 Daniel Poncedeleon, 1990-91 Pro Set Super Bowl 160 (football) #16 SB XVI Ticket - San Francisco 49ers / Cincinnati Bengals

Received 02/19/19:
  • 1998 SP Top Prospects #119 James Manias (See Trade #35)
  • 1990 Upper Deck #626 Frank Viola
  • 1989 Fleer #29 Bob Welch (See Trade #70)
  • 1989 Score #495 Larry Parrish (See Trade #200)
TCDB member Garrett and I completed a small trade almost exactly 3 years ago, and poor Frankie remains as the only card remaining from that trade.

I've always had a soft spot for Frank Viola. He's got a great name, and even better nickname ("Sweet Music"), and paired up with Roger Clemens to give the Red Sox a pretty decent 1-2 punch atop the rotation. Don't even get me started on his dapper facial hair. 

Last call on Viola! If no one trades for him, he joins my personal collection and puts me one step closer to a set I should probably appreciate more and complete.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Repack Haiku #294 (Benny Distefano)

A rare distinction
The last left handed catcher
Will we see again?
1989 Fleer #205 Benny Distefano
In the history of baseball, there have been very few backstops who threw left handed. When Distefano caught 3 games for the Pirates in 1989, he became the last known lefty to do so. Since he had to use a catching glove on his right hand, it forced him to catch balls backhanded.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Time Travel Trading Update #74

I hope you like football.
The season may have ended a little over a week ago, but I think the playoffs got people in a particular mindset. I received exactly 100 cards since last time, and a whopping 76 of them feature NFL players. If you're not a fan, don't worry! There's still plenty of baseball, plus representatives of 3 other sports.
Our first trade comes from Tom (The Angels In Order) and happens to be the only pure baseball card lot. Tom picked up a '75 Joe Rudi, and sent along a half-dozen cards in return.

Blog reader and frequent trade partner Ken claimed another bunch of cards. In return, he sent some modern and vintage football, with a few vintage baseball cards for good measure.

Bo (Baseball Cards Come To Life!) made his monthly trade of course. (And yes Bo, this is our largest trade ever!) A huge lot of 1980 and 1979 Topps football if anyone happens to be working on those sets...

Greg (Night Owl Cards) is one of those people working on the 1979 set, so hopefully he needs a few of the ones above. He picked up a few last time, and added these cards to the stack:
After 75 Time Travel Trading posts, I've come to assume that anyone reading them understands the gist of the project - trading cards in the stack for older cards in return. You know what they say about assuming, right? I need to remember to clarify the parameters, especially with new trade partners. Thanks to my lack of communication, I made a great trade with blog reader Stuart (aka Poison75). He claimed a few cards, even wiping out the stock of 1971 Topps. What he sent in return hit a lot of my personal collecting needs, but were significantly newer than what I had sent out. No worries, I just exercised my right as "Supreme Overlord of the Time Travel Trading Project (TM)" to make a personal swap with myself. I didn't have much to offer in terms of vintage baseball, but I did have - you guessed it - football cards I could part with:

(Don't ask me what happened to that Rossovich card - it's almost like someone spray painted over it. It's a interesting piece of art if nothing else!)

Back in December, I showcased a card featuring the Super Bowl trophy. I didn't have any takers on my blog, but I did manage to find a TCDB member named Chris with the card listed on his Want List. I made the trade and shipped the card off to Canada in exchange for a hockey card:

(Brief aside: I hope Chris got his cards. I mailed them out over a month ago, but he never marked it as received. I've sent him a follow up message last week, but he hasn't logged into the TCDB since 01/31. I'm hoping things are OK on his end. EDIT: Wouldn't you know he responded hours after this posted! We're all good!)

Another TCDB trade went much smoother, but that's no surprise. Mark Z. has made numerous Time Travel trades before, and he always gets a thumbs up from me! This time around, in addition to some great vintage, we get the first racing card to make its way into the stack!

Finally, we have a fantastic trade with Jon (A Penny Sleeve For Your Thoughts). Any time I send off cards from the 1950's, I can't wait to see what comes back. In return for a few 1955 Bowman, Jon sends a couple of gangsters boxers from the 1930's!

Very cool, if I do say so! Thanks again to all my trade partners!

As always, these cards are all available in exchange for an older card. You can claim your cards below, or through the TCDB (Kep75). Let's make some trades!

The Time Travel Trade Stack:

2022 Topps Opening Day - Opening Day
2022 Topps Opening Day - Opening Day Autographs
#ODA-LWJ LaMonte Wade Jr. (AU) 
2021 Topps
2019 Donruss - All-Time Gridiron Kings (football)
#AGK-5 Dan Marino 
2017 Topps - MLB Award Winners

2016 Donruss - Legends of the Fall (football)
#21 Ray Lewis

2014 Topps Allen & Ginter

2010 Bowman - Prospects Black
#BP51 Chase D'Arnaud
#BP56 Rolando Gomez

2010 Bowman Platinum - Prospects
#PP38 Brian Johnson    
2009 Bowman - Chrome WBC Prospects
#BCW18 Tao Bu    

2007 Playoff Prestige (football)
#92 Marques Colston
2006 Playoff Prestige (football)
#123 Drew Brees

2005 Donruss Classics (football)
#73 Terrell Owens

2005 Donruss Zenith (football)
#75 Terrell Owens

2005 Leaf Certified Materials (football)

#78 Michael Strahan

2005 Leaf Rookies & Stars (football)
#3 Larry Fitzgerald
#9 Ray Lewis
#73 Donovan McNabb
#74 Terrell Owens
#94 Clinton Portis
2005 Playoff Absolute Memorabilia
#44 Shawn Green
2002 Fleer Maximum
2002 Upper Deck World Series Heroes
#85 Tino Martinez
#88 Andy Petitte
2000 BBM Diamond Heroes
#241 Hawks Checklist
#244 Marines Checklist

2000 Upper Deck MVP

#216 Bernie Williams
1999 SkyBox Metal Universe (football)
#116 Tiki Barber

1998 Pinnacle Inside
#25 Andruw Jones
1998 Pinnacle Performers
#14 Hideo Nomo
1997-98 Score New York Rangers (hockey)
#8 Alexander Karpovtsev

1997-98 Score Philadelphia Flyers (hockey)
#18 Vaclav Prospal
1997 Collector's Choice
#215 Glenallen Hill 
1997 Pinnacle Inside
#111 Matt Williams

1997 Pinnacle X-Press
#64 Craig Biggio   
1997 Topps
#268 Scott Rolen
1997 Upper Deck
#13 Mark Lemke

1996 Leaf

1995 Topps
#311 Bryan Harvey  
1995 Finest (football)
#124 Trent Dilfer   
1994 Topps Archives 1954
1993 Leaf
1992 Front Row Draft Picks
#46 Ed Christian   
1992 Leaf - Gold Rookies
#BC-10 David Nied

1992 Pinnacle - Team 2000
#42 Jim Abbott
#48 Roberto Alomar
#59 Gary Sheffield
1992 Post Cereal
1992 Upper Deck
#723 Sammy Sosa 
1991 Post Cereal

1991 U.S. Playing Card Co.
#2Spades Eddie Murray
1991 Fleer (football)
#305 Otis Anderson  
#416 Bo Jackson (LL)
1991 Pro Set Platinum (football)
#81 Lawrence Taylor
1991 Topps Desert Storm (non-sport)
#147 Working Together  
1990-91 Pro Set Super Bowl XXV Silver Anniversary (football)
#88 Nick Buoniconti

1990 Fleer
1990 Leaf
#16 Hubie Brooks  

1990 Post Cereal
#22 Pedro Guerrero 
1990 Upper Deck
#626 Frank Viola
1990 Score (football)
#436 Chet Brooks (RC)
1989-92 Racing Champions Stock Car (racing)
#01113 Jimmy Means
1989-90 Topps (hockey)
#37 John Tucker
1989 Fleer
#299 Roberto Alomar  
1988 Card Collectors T-206 Reprint
#NNO Matty McIntyre
1988 Topps Toys "R" Us Rookies
#30 Terry Steinbach  
1988 Topps Traded
1986 Donruss
#256 Curtis Wilkerson 
1986 Fleer
#322 Goose Gossage
#577 Curtis Wilkerson   
1986 Topps
#40 Ken Griffey
#495 Mark Langston
#765 Don Baylor 
1986 Topps Traded
#7T Steve Bedrosian
#68T Mickey Mahler
#109T Tim Teufel 
1985 Topps
#497 Gary Pettis 
1984 Donruss

1984 Fleer
1984 O-Pee-Chee 

1983 Topps Drake's Big Hitters
#14 Dave Kingman
1982-85 Galasso Baseball Hobby Card Report T-206 Reprints
1982 Dover Publications Reprints National League
#15 Robin Roberts 
1982 Topps
1982 Topps (football) 
1981 Donruss  
#77 Gene Garber 
1981 Fleer
#8 Larry Christenson 

1981 Topps
1981 Topps Drake's Big Hitters
#16 Cecil Cooper 
1980 Topps 
#90 Manny Trillo
1980 Topps (football)
#17 Isaac Curtis
#30 Mike Reinfeldt (AP, RC)
#41 Mike Hartenstine
#58 Billy Johnson
#59 Reuben Gant
#66 Dexter Bussey
#67 Ken Mendenhall
#75 Roger Wehrli (AP)
#84 Mike Bragg
#89 Don Cockroft
#98 Charley Young
#101 Doug Plank
#116 Lyle Blackwood
#126 John James
#137 Ike Harris
#139 Sam Adams
#142 Rusty Jackson
#145 Ken Houston (AP)
#148 Tom Banks
#150 Greg Pruitt
#166 Terry Hermeling
#167 Roland Hooks
#172 Leonard Thompson (RC)
#180 David Lewis (AP)
#185 Charlie Waters 
1979 Kellogg's
#59 Ron Jackson (VAR) 

1979 Topps 
1979 Topps (football)
#12 Bernard Jackson
#100 Chuck Foreman
#101 Joe Klecko
#158 Mike Patrick
#201 Leon Gray (AP)
#211 Jon Keyworth
#213 John Fitzgerald
#252 Robert Newhouse
#265 Lawrence McCutcheon
#313 Haven Moses
#378 Jeff Siemon
#493 Curtis Johnson
#510 Harvey Martin

1978-79 Topps (basketball)
#118 Kevin Porter 

1978 Topps  
#145 Rick Monday
#630 Ron Cey (AS) 
1978 Topps (football)
#424 Paul Seymour 

1977-78 Topps - Glossy Inserts (Rounded Corners) (hockey)
1977-78 Topps - White Backs (basketball)
#78 Richard Washington (RC) 
1977 Dover Publications Classic Baseball Cards Reprints
#10 Lefty O'Doul
#18 Jimmie Dykes
#99 Hal Chase
#NNO Melvin Harder
#NNO Fred Merkle
1977 Topps
1977 Topps (football)
#4 1966 NFL Scoring Leaders (Moseley/Linhart) (LL)
#7 Mike Phipps
#15 Charlie Waters
#24 Phil Villapiano
#40 Tommy Hart (AP)
#79 Jim Mitchell
#160 Blaine Nye (AP)
#183 Mike Boryla
#240 Robert Brazile (AP)
1976 Funky Sales Corp Funky Facts Baseball
#2 In A Trance
#3 Fans Vs Players
#5 Baseballeese
1976 SSPC
#7 Elias Sosa 

1976 Topps

1976 Topps (football)
#74 Bryant Salter

1975 Topps
1975 Topps (football)
#185 Paul Seymour
#233 Fred Carr
#236 Conrad Dobler
#272 Mike Tilleman
1974 Topps  
#84 Rick Wise
#466 Dick Billings 
1974 Topps - Traded
#43T Jim Wynn

1973 Topps (football)
#336 Bob Chandler (RC)
1972 Topps  
#113 Rogelio Moret
1971 Topps (football)
#8 Walt Garrison (RC)
#37 Dave Parks
#46 Kark Kassulke (RC)
#55 Willie Wood (AS)
#89 Ralph Neely
#99 Ernie Wright
#137 Kent McCloghan
#212 Bob Anderson (RC)
1970 Topps
#2 Diego Segui
#287 Fred Talbot   #390 Willie Davis    
#472 Atlanta Braves (TC)
#513 Preston Gomez (MGR) 
1970 Topps (football)
#167 Tim Rossovich (RC)
#235 Greg Cook (RC)
#260 Calvin Hill (RC, VAR: name in red)

1970 Topps - Glossy (football)
#28 Bob Griese 
1969 Globe Imports Playing Cards Gas Station Issue
#8Hearts Jim Wynn
1968 Topps

1967 Topps

1966 Topps
#46 Howie Koplitz
#333 Senators 1966 Rookie Stars (Coleman/French) (RC, RS)
#378 Dick Tracewski
#392 Cubs 1966 Rookie Stars (Hands/Hundley) (RC, RS)
#149 Wayne Schurr

1964 Topps 
#15 Zoilo Versalles

1962 Topps
1961 Topps
1960 Topps
#269 Gene Green 
1960 Topps (football)
#28 Jim Ray Smith 

1959 Topps
#61 Dick Brown
#283 Russ Heman (RC, VAR: white back)
1959 Topps (football)
#78 Buzz Nutter (RC)
1958 JCM 30a Doyusha Team Name Back (solid front w/o borders)
1958 Topps (football)
#3 Joe Schmidt 

1957 Topps
#91 Mack Burk (RC)
1956 Topps
1956 Topps (football)
#42 Tom Fears
#51 Ted Marchibroda
1955 Bowman
1955 Topps
1955 Bowman (football)
#9 Don Stonesifer

1955 Topps All-American (football)
#46 Arnie Lassman
1954 Topps
#215 Ed McGhee

1954 Bowman Power For Peace (non-sport)
#91 USS Coral Sea (CVB43)

1953 Topps
1939 Wills's Garden Flowers by Richard Sudell (non-sport)
#46 Sweet Sultan 

1938 Church & Dwight Useful Birds Of America Tenth Series (J9-6) (non-sport)
#2 Black-throated Green Warbler
1938 Churchman's Boxing Personalities
#46 Sam Russell
#47 Johnny Sharpe 

1937-38  Diamond Matchbooks Tan 6 (hockey)
#NNO Glenn Brydson
1935 Church & Dwight Useful Birds of America Eighth Series (J9-4) (non-sport)
#10 California Jay

1933 Church & Dwight Useful Birds of America Fifth Series (J9-1) (non-sport)
#5 Indigo Bunting 
1925 Sports Records (multi-sport)
1924 Imperial Tobacco Co. of Canada (ITC) Dogs Series (non-sport)
#4 Otter-Hound

1922 Church & Dwight Useful Birds Of America Third Series (J7) (non-sport)
#7 Prothonotary Warbler

1915 Church & Dwight Useful Birds Of America First Series (J5) (non-sport)
#1 Quail
1910 Champions (T218) (multi-sport)
1890 N245 Sweet Caporal Actors & Actresses (non-sport)
#NNO Frankie Raymond

The Time Travel Trading Project is simple in concept. I started out with a random pack of 2018 Topps Series 1 baseball cards. My aim was to trade every card in that pack for something older. Each card I receive in turn is then made available for trade, with the goal to get the oldest card I can get.

Number of trades completed: 231
Unique trading partners: 70

Number of cards mailed out: 1,145
Year of oldest card mailed out: 1910-11

Number of cards received: 1,719
Year of oldest card received: 1890